Nigeria finally clears UNICEF of aiding terror group, lifts ban

Boko Haram jihadists. Photo: RR

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) – “Well meaning and concerned Nigerians” have convinced the Nigerian military to lift the three-month ban on Unicef operations in the ravaged northeast region of the country.

The Nigerian army spokesperson Onyema Nwachukwu said Friday evehing that the ban had been revoked following an “intervention by well meaning and concerned Nigerians”.

During the meeting, the Theatre Command admonished the representatives of the organisation to desist from activities inimical to Nigeria’s national security and capable of undermining the ongoing fight against terrorism and insurgency.

The Nigerian government had suspended the child aid agency and accusing it of training “spies” supporting Boko Haram jihadists.

Early last week, the army had accused the United Nations children’s agency of holding workshops in the northeast city of Maiduguri training people for “clandestine” activities that were “sabotaging” counterterrorism efforts.

“The Command also urged Unicef representatives to ensure they share information with relevant authorities whenever induction or training of new staff is being conducted in the theatre,“Nwachukwu said.

Scores of civilian have been arrested in connection with their links to Boko Haram.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 pledging to end the violence, is under increasing pressure to act as he gears up to seek re-election in a February ballot.

He has come under attack for previously claiming the Islamists were “technically defeated” as the terror group continues to attack, kill and burn down various places.

Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency has killed more than 27 000 people since it began in 2009 and has triggered a humanitarian crisis in the wider Lake Chad region, where the jihadists have stepped up attacks in recent months.

Boko Haram’s bloody uprising in north-eastern Nigeria has spread to neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, leaving 1.8 million people homeless and millions dependent on aid for survival.

© Bur-csa – N.W / From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV) – Follow us on Twitter : @ADVinfo_eng